Faith, business and science representatives call on COP24 to deliver on heightened ambition and support for impacted communities.
Offering perspectives from the faith, business and science community, participants at a press conference today organised by Climate Action Network highlighted the urgency for the UN climate talks to address the importance of the IPCC 1.5C Report by committing to a COP decision that enhances NDCs by 2020.
The extreme weather events that have been projected time again are now on our doorstep. People from all walks of life are suffering the consequences of political inaction in their daily lives. “Climate change is not just about facts and figures, it has a human face. It is a matter of life and death for many communities around the world. That is the spirit with which we carry the message of urgency” Yeb Saño, Climate Pilgrimage Lead and Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Saño embarked on a 1,500 km environmental pilgrimage from Rome to Katowice and arrived at COP24 on December 7th. He described how every day without meaningful climate action is an injustice to the vulnerable peoples suffering from the impacts of climate change. When asked about the climate activists being detained upon reaching Poland, Saño said: “I pay tribute to those climate activists who despite those risks, continue to stand up for what is right.” When asked about the 5 year anniversary of the Warsaw international Mechanism for Loss and Damage initiated in Warsaw in 2013, Sano said it was a step in the right direction but work the Mechanism needs to be empowered to deliver on it’s full mandate and progress on this has been lacking sadly.
Astrid Caldas, Senior Climate Scientist, Climate & Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists, echoed Yeb Saño as she highlighted further impacts of human induced climate change.
“Countries must increase their ambition, particularly concerning their NDCs. Their emissions reduction pledges should reflect the urgency laid out in the IPCC report. COP24 must be a response to this report. A COP decision on ambition where countries commit to stronger climate targets by 2020 will show they are serious about tackling climate change head-on. We have no time to spare,” she said. With each incremental increase in temperature, millions of people are involuntarily exposed to harsher weather events and greater threats to their quality of life.
Countries such as Brazil, Australia, and the USA had all made strong commitments in Paris, but are now reversing in the opposite direction. Aron Cramer, President & CEO, Business for Social Responsibility, emphasized that the private sector is acknowledging the climate crisis and is raising ambition by developing their own emissions targets. Over 500 companies have pledged to science based targets since the Paris Agreements. Over 150 of these are committing to 100% Renewable Energy. Companies are recognizing the significance of a just transition and are seizing the opportunity to be frontrunners in sustainable development. A COP outcome that expresses ongoing commitments, certainty, and heightened ambition would communicate to the businesses sector that they will be supported by their governments in their model shift towards renewables and low carbon alternatives.
On December 10th, the Pontifical Academy of Science is partnering with The Polish Academy of Sciences for a conference here in Katowice. “The urgency couldn’t be greater. Pope Francis, the catholic church, and other faiths are reminding us with really strong warnings that we have to rally behind the scientists. The science is crystal clear, we’re heading towards a cliff and emissions still continue to rise” said Tomás Insua, Executive Director, Global Catholic Climate Movement. He said on Sunday December 9, the Catholic Church in Poland will be holding a “COP24 National Prayer Campaign” in the 10,000 Catholic parishes of the country, right after the Sunday Masses.